Highlights from Salesforce’s “The Future of Financial Services” Report

Digital transformation in financial services is a complex challenge. Customers today expect convenient and personalized digital experiences along with speedy transactions and omnichannel support. Meeting these customer demands while painting within the lines of regulatory requirements is not an easy endeavor. Financial services institutions (FSIs) must adapt quickly but mindfully to these rising expectations or risk being disrupted and replaced by nontraditional players. 

The latest Salesforce report, “The Future of Financial Services,” offers unique insight into the current landscape, mapping out challenges (and potential solutions) and highlighting key areas for innovation to improve the customer experience. One thing is clear—the future of Financial Services focuses on the end consumer. Individuals need to be empowered to take action and get the information and service they need from any device. FSIs that can meet growing expectations for digital engagement and convenience are poised to rocket past competitors and gain a permanent place for their icons on mobile home screens.

Here are the top takeaways from the report, along with recommendations for taking advantage of these insights.

1. The best experiences set the bar for everyone else

Customers hold every company to the same standard. A great digital experience with one company sets the bar for all other businesses—a trend accelerated by the rapid transition to remote, online solutions in response to the pandemic. Out of all the FSIs, banks continue to lead the way, mainly because they have the longest track record with online solutions and mobile apps for consumers to access their accounts and perform basic functions (transfers, deposits, balances, branch locations). When it comes to insurance, wealth management, loans, and mortgages, developing digital experiences becomes a thornier problem as regulations increase and tasks become more complex.

As FSIs design digital experiences, they need to keep their customers’ priorities top of mind: 

  • Ease of use: From onboarding and identity verification to an intuitive user interface, an easy-to-use app is essential to satisfying and retaining digital users.
  • Transparency: Customers don’t trust companies with hidden fees or too much fine print—they want straightforward terms and transparent pricing. 
  • Anticipating needs: FSIs that can proactively meet their customers’ needs using predictive personalization will build deeper, trusted relationships that can weather economic ups and downs.
  • Financial wellness: Customers want the insight and resources to establish good financial health. Financial institutions that can meet those needs will likely become long-term providers.
  • Personalization: Customers don’t just want to be known—they want relevant content and services based on their preferences, needs, and life circumstances. 

2. Automation enables customer connection

Automation is a crucial lever for efficiency, which can open up opportunities for customer connection and satisfaction. While customers won’t directly see or interact with behind-the-scenes automation, they’ll experience the benefits downstream like faster application processing, streamlined onboarding, and accurate reporting that can inform new features and product offerings. Automation also eliminates repetitive tasks and mountains of manual paperwork, freeing up employees for higher-value work and deeper customer engagement.

A key to effective automation is to understand where automation will make the biggest impact. Rather than embracing an “everywhere-all-at-once” strategy, FSIs that implement automation selectively will realize greater benefits faster. As the automation delivers value and streamlines operations, new automations can be added, building on one another to drive efficiency and better customer and employee experiences. 

3. The right data must drive business decisions

While data needs to power business decisions, not all data is created equal. FSIs need to prioritize the data that will give them the best insight into customer behaviors and inflection points that affect business outcomes like retention, acquisition, and expansion. 

According to the report, new metrics are rising to the top that will help FSIs develop better pictures of their customers:

  • Key risk (and opportunity) indicators: FSIs should analyze their existing data to uncover behavior patterns surrounding moments like customer acquisition, churn, and expansion. Find the recurring data points that presage high-value or high-risk moments and plan around them to take appropriate action.
  • Primacy: Not every loyal customer is active and engaged on a daily—or even weekly—basis. FSIs are learning that a greater indicator of loyalty and long-term commitment is whether they are the primary account or policy. 
  • Stops and starts: Identifying customer pain points along their journey begins with finding the moments where they get stuck or stop engaging across all channels—from chatbots to phone calls to incomplete form fills. On the flip side, it’s just as important to study the data surrounding upgrades and add-ons to get a complete picture of the customer.

Building complete digital customer experiences takes more than financial expertise. It takes a network of experienced partners specializing in areas like analytics, data infrastructure and innovation, and UI/UX design. At Zennify, our financial services team has the knowledge and expertise to design effective digital transformation solutions that enable FSIs to get closer to their customers.

If your company is ready to embark on or optimize your digital transformation journey that brings modern, omnichannel experiences to customers, get in touch.

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